Total Drama Review Week 8: Paintball Deer Hunter
By: Justin Cummings
Today ladies and gentlemen we say goodbye to one of my favorite characterd in the original Total Drama cast. So much a favorite that I’ve written fanfiction about them; farewell Cody, we hardly knew ya. As a kid watching this back in 2008 I saw so much of myself in Cody, and rooted for him to end up with Gwen the entire time, and so this episode broke my heart. I’ve since changed my tune though about Gwen and Cody though, as you may remember from my last review. I now appreciate them having that Brother and Sister friendship we saw on display last episode, which makes one moment in this episode really special to me. I didn’t pick up on this before, but right at the end of the episode, when everyone is saying goodbye to Cody, they all seem genuine, but they don’t really seem sad. The only person who seems to have genuine emotion in their voice is Gwen. We never see her face, but we hear her say goodbye, and she actually seems sad that the poor little guy is leaving. It was a small touch, but it means the world to me that they put in that little gesture.
Speaking of Cody, the use of the confessional cam in this episode was brilliant. They were able to play around with non-linear storytelling in a show that normally would never allow for that. The jarring switch from seeing Cody walking to seeing him all bandaged up was rather smart, and still sticks out in my mind eight years later. The show didn’t often take narrative risks like that, but I’m glad they did here. Also on the technical side of things this is another challenge, like in “The Big Sleep” where the challenge becomes more of just a backdrop for character growth. The only people to get shot at all were those involved in the alliance breakdown. It’s kind of weird that during that whole time no one actually played the game, but it still works okay.
To quickly discuss the lesser plots, the Owen and DJ scenes were fun. They weren’t groundbreaking, but they were funny and made for a good couple of minutes of TV. The added bit of Courtney and Duncan towards the end just shows them slowly but surely heading towards a relationship. Duncan at this point is very open to it but Courtney, eh not so much. Of course thought the biggest part of this episode is the fracture of the alliance. For the first time we finally see Beth standing up to Heather. It’s been a long time coming and it feels so good to see Heather get even just a little bit of what’s coming to her. What I always liked about this was the way Leshawna and Beth became friends over shooting Heather with the paintballs. These two were opposites but they were able to get along and have fun together. That ends up being a recurring theme in this show, unexpected friendships. Heading into the next episode now the teams are even in number and Heather is slowly losing her alliance. A new status quo seems possible but we’ll have to wait and see. Come back next week for my review of “If You Can’t Take the Heat.”